Islamic Law / Khilafah / الفتاوى العطائية (al-Fatawa al-'Ata'iyya)

‘Who Implements the Hudud? The Caliph…’

Quotes by Shaykh `Ata’ on the Imam

alone Implements the Hudud…”

_________ ‖ _________

  • The noble scholar, mujtahid and one at the forefront in the struggle to resume the Islamic way of life Shaykh `Ata’ Ibn Khalil (Allah protect him) quotes eminent jurists of our legal tradition regarding the Caliph alone having the right to implement the Islamic sanctions:

والخلاصة هي كما أن الخاص قاض على العام، والمقيد قاض على المطلق وفق قواعد الأصول، فإن المبين قاض على المجمل، فيكون الذي يقيم الحدود هو الحاكم الذي يحكم بالإسلام، أي الإمام، وهذا أمر ثابت وفق ما كان عليه رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، وما سار عليه الخلفاء الراشدون رضي الله عنهم، كما بينا آنفاً… وهذا أمر مشهور طوال عهود الخلافة الإسلامية، وقد وردت أقوال لبعض العلماء المعتبرين في هذا الأمر:

قول ابن تيمية “خاطب الله المؤمنين بالحدود والحقوق خطابا مطلقا كقوله والسارق والسارقة فاقطعوا… لكن قد علم أن المخاطب بالفعل لا بد أن يكون قادرا عليه والعاجزون لا يوجب عليهم… والقدرة هي السلطان فلهذا وجب إقامة الحدود على ذي السلطان ونوابه“.

قال الإمام علاء الدين الكاساني: “وأما شرائط جواز إقامتها يعني الحدود… فهو الإمامة“.

القرطبي يقول: “لا خلاف أن المخاطب بهذا الأمر – الحدود – الإمام ومن ينوب منابه“.

قال الإمام الشافعي: “لا يقيم الحد على الأحرار إلا الإمام ومن فوض إليه الإمام“.

قال ابن قدامة: “لا يجوز لأحد إقامة الحد إلا بالإمام أو نائبه“.


“[…] so, he who establishes the hudud ordinances is the ruler (al-hakim) who rules by Islam, i.e. the Imam. This is a matter clearly established and accords with what the Messenger of Allah (SAW) was on as well as the Rightly Guided Caliphs (Allah be pleased with them all) as was explained earlier [s: in the answer]…this was a well-known matter throughout the periods of the Islamic caliphate and many statements of the eminent scholars are found regarding this matter such as:

[1] the statement of Ibn Taymiyya: ‘Allah addressed the believers with the hudud as well as rights with an absolute address like His command {the thief, male and female, cut off their hands…[5:38]}’ but it was known that the one addressed to carry out an action must be able to implement that action and those who are unable are not obligated to do so…and the ability is in the hands of the sultan so it follows that establishing the hudud is the job of the sultan or his official representative…’[1]

[2] Imam`Ala’ al-Din al-Kasani said: ‘as for the condition for the implementation of it, meaning the hudud, then it is by the Imamah [s: i.e. through the khilafah institution]…’[2]

[3] al-Qurtubi says: ‘there is no disagreement in that the one addressed in this regard – i.e. the hudud – is the Imam and whoever is his official representative…’[3]

[4] al-Imam al-Shafi`i said: ‘the hudud is not implemented on anyone except by the Imam or anyone officially delegated that permission by him…’[4]

[5] Ibn Qudamah said: ‘it is not permitted to establish the hudud by anyone except the Imam and his official representative’.[5][6] [End of quotes].


[1] See his al-Majmu` al-Fatawa, 34:176.

[2] As discussed in his encyclopaedic legal work al-Bada’i` al-Sana’i`, 7:57.

[3] al-Qurtubi, al-Jami` li-Ahkam al-Qur’an, 12:161.

[4] As quoted by Imam al-Nawawi in his Sharh al-Muhadhdhab, 3:341 and his Rawdat al-Talibin, 3:353.

[5] See his al-Kafi fi Fiqh Ibn Hanbal, 4:106, §’iqamat al-hadd’.

[6] “Q & A: Implementing Hudud in a Land…”


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